The Vermont Gran Fondo is a great bike ride, and a huge challenge.

Vermont is renown for its natural beauty, and country living life-style.  Of the long list of potential outdoor activities, cycling is a favorite. The combination of stunning scenery, clean air, lightly traveled roads, and challenging terrain attract cyclists from afar, and the October Country Inn has long been a home-away-from-home, and base of operations for many, many visiting cyclists. So when a special cycling event comes up, we think our cycling friends would like to know about it. Mark your schedules. The 2019 Vermont’s Gran Fondo is slated for June 29. Go online to for information and to register.

Gran Fondo is Italian for ‘big ride.’ Typically, Gran Fondo events are long distance, mass-participation cycling events—not races—that are immensely popular in Italy and the rest of Europe and are quickly becoming increasingly popular in the United States. Participation is open to cyclists of all abilities. While the Vermont Gran Fondo is not a race in the traditional sense, it goes well beyond the scope of most recreational or charity rides. In some ways, the Vermont Gran Fondo is similar to a 26-mile running marathon. Its a personal challenge. Rather than racing other participants, participants are challenging themselves in a battle against the course, and the distance.

The challenging nature of the Vermont Gran Fondo is due to a road course that crosses the Green Mountains at four different locations. Called “gaps,” these mountain passes all involve some serious climbing. The southernmost Brandon Gap is a category 2 climb with 1,178 feet of elevation gain in 3.2 miles with an average grade of 7%

Vermont Gran Fondo course.

and a maximum grade of 18%. Next to the north, the Middlebury Gap is a category 3 climb with 1,018 feet of elevation gain in 3.1 miles with an average grade of 6% and a maximum grade of 27%. Next to the north, the Lincoln Gap—distinguished by being the steepest continuous mile (20% to 24%) in the U.S.—is a category 2 climb with an elevation gain of 1,059 feet in 2.7 miles with an average grade of 15% and a maximum grade of 24%. The northernmost Appalachian Gap is a category 2 climb with 1,163 feet of elevation gain in 2.7 miles with an average grade of 8% and a maximum grade of 24%.

Pick the challenge that suits you from among the four course choices: The Gran Fondo course is 108 miles with 11,400 feet of climbing over the Appalachian Gap (west to east), Lincoln Gap (east to west), Appalachian Gap again (west to east), and the Middlebury Gap (east to west). The Medio Difficile course is 66 miles with 6,900 feet of climbing over the Appalachian and Lincoln Gaps. The Medio Facile course is 77 miles with 7,000 feet of climbing over the Appalachian and Middlebury Gaps. The Piccolo Fondo is 37 miles with 2,600 feet of climbing but no Gaps. The Vermont Gran Fondo is truly a challenge. Ride it if you can.

By |2019-10-02T20:29:39-04:00May 31st, 2019|Bike Rides|

20 Mile Stream Road loop – a local bike ride favorite.

Town of Ludlow

Town of Ludlow

The 20 Mile Stream Road loop bike ride is of modest length that starts with a long gentle downhill section, adds a quiet, slow (mostly uphill) ride along an idyllic country backroad, and then finishes with a breezy, brake lever clutching downhill. The ride starts out though a lake front residential section along a scenic state highway, then goes through the towns of Ludlow, and Cavendish before you turn off the highway, your thoughts and concerns dim as you become one with Vermont’s bucolic splendor. If you want to extend the ride, start and end this ride at the October Country Inn for a total of 44.3 miles.

20 Mile Stream Road

20 Mile Stream Road

For the 20 mile option, park at the Tyson Church parking lot off Route 100 across from the Echo Lake Inn. Ride south on Route 100. The road has narrow shoulders, and winds through a residential area that front lakes (from north to south) Echo, Rescue and Pauline that are fed and drained by the upper reaches of the Black River. Turn left where Route 100 south intersects with Route 103 south (3.4 miles) and continue into the town of Ludlow where Route 100 and Route 103 split (5.4 miles). There are several opportunities for restrooms, food, and drink in Ludlow. Continue through Ludlow, about 2 miles, and beyond on Route 103 south.  Turn left on Route 131 east (8.5 miles). Singleton’s General Store, in Proctorsville, is on the right (8.9 miles). A little bit further (9.0 miles) you will come to Depot St. Two blocks down, on the left, is the Opera House Café & Bakery. Riding on, following Route 131 east, without warning, and for no apparent reason, the town of Proctorsville suddenly becomes the town of Cavendish. Be sure to keep an eye out on your left for Twenty Mile Stream Road (9.3 miles) It’s the longest street sign in Vermont.

20 Mile Stream Loop MapTurn left on 20 Mile Stream Rd (9.3 miles), it’a paved road with no marked shoulders, but little traffic. It begins as a bit of a climb and then goes up and down, mostly up winding through a haphazard mix of residences before it opens up through a meadow filled valley. It just feels good to ride through it. The pavement ends (13 miles), turns to hard-pack dirt and steadily increases in pitch until it intersects with the Tyson/Reading Road (16.3 miles).Turn left on Tyson/Reading Road, and slip into the big ring. With the exception of one small up and down section by Colby Pond, the rest of the ride is a peddle free downhill ride on a winding paved road (no marked shoulders but little traffic) through shaded forest and open meadow until you reach the end of this loop a the junction with Route 100 (19.3 miles).

By |2019-10-02T20:51:58-04:00July 3rd, 2018|Bike Rides|

A typical Vermont bike ride–a bit hilly in really beautiful surroundings.


PbarnFrom the Billings Farm this 24 mile ride involves about 1,100 feet of climbing.  This really sweet ride ranks second on the October Country Inn list of great local bike rides. There are two route choices.  The 24 mile loop starts and ends at the Billings Farm just outside of Woodstock. The route winds up and down along narrow shouldered, but lightly traveled country roads through classic Vermont hill farm, and river valley scenery. This ride can be increased to 42.2 miles when combined with an out-and-back from the October Country Inn.

PfallStarting from the Billings Farm’s overflow parking lot. Exit the parking lot; turn right on Old River Rd for a short distance. Bear right onto, and follow Route 12 north until you reach the “Y” intersection with Pomfret Rd. (0.6 miles).  Turn right on Pomfret Rd and follow it until Pomfret Rd. turns to the right when you reach the Teago General Store (2.6 miles). Follow Pomfret Rd. as it begins to climb, winding through incredibly beautiful hill farm country. When you reach the top of the climb (5.8 miles), shift into your big ring for a long downhill cruise. This leg starts out winding through open pasture land, and then funnels into a narrow creek side valley. Upon reaching the White River (11.8 miles), the road bends to the right, and follows the White River. This road dead ends at a stop sign (12.4 miles) at Quechee/West Hartford Rd. To the left is a bridge that crosses the White River, leads to Route 14, and the West Hartford General Store.

PmapTurn right onto the Quechee/West Hartford Rd. (unmarked) and begin to climb. At the top (15.9 miles) shift into high gear once again for a shorter downhill sprint. Keep on the lookout for a paved road on the right that intersects with the Quechee/West Hartford Rd. at a very shallow angle (17.6 miles). Carefully turn right on this road (Quechee Main St., unmarked), and almost double back in the direction you came. Follow this road through and beyond the Quechee Country Club.  Turn right onto River Rd. (21.0 miles) when you reach the Taftsville covered bridge. At this point, River Rd. is hard packed dirt following the Ottauquechee River. River Rd. turns to pavement (23.2 miles). Turn right into the Billings Farm overflow parking lot to complete the ride (24.0 miles).  Download Pomfret Loop map.  Download Pomfret Loop Directions.

By |2019-10-03T11:32:22-04:00August 11th, 2016|Bike Rides|

Vermont is famous for its cycling, and this route is a local favorite.

Formet US President Calvin Coolidge’s homestead.

October Country Inn has long been a home-base for visiting cyclists.  Quiet country roads, stunning scenery, and friendly local drivers make for great cycling.  Visit our website for a complete selection of cycling routes in the area.  Distances range from 109 miles to 9 miles.  This blog post’s featured cycling route is a local favorite.  It’s the October Country Inn’s home route. It’s short enough for an experienced cyclist to get in a morning ride before breakfast, and long enough to slow down the pace and enjoy the surroundings.  Every memorial weekend, the Killington Stage Race uses this course.  For Vermont, this route is relatively easy.  It consists of about 830 feet of elevation gain over seven miles, with several long downhill stretches.  The route consists of three legs that form an 18 mile triangular loop.  Despite its modest overall distance, this route has a lot of interesting features, not the least of which is the remarkable Vermont scenery.

Woodward Reservoir.

The first leg of the route passes by the historic Calvin Coolidge homesite. A good place to take a break near the top of the initial 6 mile, 450 foot climb. There is a restaurant, an old-fashioned general store, a museum, and the Plymouth cheese factory at the site.  The second leg of the route passes by scenic Woodward Reservoir.  At the start of the third leg of the route, a small commercial area contains two convenience stores, a deli, a restaurant, and bicycle shop. This final leg follows the Ottauquechee River.

From October Country Inn, head west on Upper Road to its intersection with Bridgewater Center Road (.11 miles), turn left onto Bridgewater Center Road to its intersection with U.S. Route 4 (.03 miles), turn left to the intersection with Route 100A (.21 miles), turn right and proceed along 100A to the intersection with Route 100 (7.36 miles), proceed along Route 100 to the intersection with U.S. Route 4 (5.63 miles), turn right and proceed along U.S. Route 4 back to Bridgewater Center Road (5.67 miles), turn left on Bridgewater Center Road, right on Upper Road back to October Country Inn.  Map & directions.

By |2019-10-03T11:33:17-04:00June 28th, 2016|Bike Rides|

Don’t miss this great Vermont bike ride for a great local cause.

zack1There’s a reason that the October Country Inn has hosted bike tours and bike riders for the better part of 40 years.  This area of Vermont has world-class cycling routes.  The air is clean and pure and the scenery is magnificent.   Now you have the opportunity to experience it yourself and also join in the fastest-growing local cycling event.  Register now for the Saturday, July 18, 2015, 4th Annual Tour de Zack.  Ride either the 27 or the 47 mile loops, both wind through nearby idyllic Vermont countryside.  Enjoy a fantastic bike ride with a group of like-minded enthusiasts and support a great cause in the bargain.

Zack Frates with his mother Dail.

Zack Frates with his mother Dail.

The Tour de Zack starts at the nearby Quechee Green at 10 a.m.  The 27 mile ride goes from Quechee through West Hartford, to Pomfret, and back, or go the full 47 miles and continue to Bethel and Barnard through Woodstock and back to Quechee. All will meet at The Quechee Green, for a delicious gourmet picnic provided by Jake’s Quechee Market, at 1pm or whenever you finish. These rides are some of the most scenic in Vermont. There are good climbs so be sure to read the elevation gain for each ride. Diners who choose not to cycle are also welcome to join us for lunch. Discovery Tours will follow the riders with water and sweep behind the last starting rider.


zack3The Tour de Zack is a fundraiser that benefits Zack’s Place, a free enrichment center whose mission is to empower special-needs people of all ages to express themselves through art, music, dance, literacy, athletics, and fitness while developing bonds of friendship. The center was founded in 2006 by the parents of Zack Frates who were seeking fellowship and creative outlets for their son with Cerebral Palsy, who would soon age out of the public education system. With few post-educational resources available, Zack’s parents created “Zack’s Place” in answer to the daunting issue of what do special-needs individuals and their families do after their school years have ended.

By |2019-10-03T11:39:33-04:00July 4th, 2015|Bike Rides|